Introduction to The Ultimate Sacrifice Remembered On Memorial Day 2023
Memorial Day 2023, or as it was initially known as Decoration Day, I must say that the true meaning of this day is not as it once was …. and I fear it’s fading fast. This is a federal holiday in the United States to honor and mourn the U.S. military personnel who have died while serving in the United States armed forces.
It is observed on the last Monday of May. The first observed Memorial Day was on May 30th, 1868. At that time, it was called Decoration Day. It was proclaimed by Commander in Chief John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic to honor the Union soldiers who had fallen during the Civil War.
Many people visit cemeteries and memorials on this day to honor and mourn those who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving in the U.S. military. Small groups always come to place flags on those soldiers resting spots in national and local cemeteries.
It is also the unofficial beginning of summer. Many cities and people made claims to be the first to observe this custom. However, in 2022, the National Cemetery Administration, a division of the Department of Veterans Affairs, credited Mary Ann Williams with originating the “idea of strewing the graves of Civil War soldiers – Union and Confederate” with flowers.
While it is not the only day that we remember our veterans, to me, it is the most solemn. The other two days celebrate those who have served or are serving in the U.S. military: Armed Forces Day (celebrated earlier in May), an unofficial U.S. holiday for honoring those currently serving in the armed forces, and Veterans Day (November 11th), which honors all those who have served in the United States Armed Forces.
Change is Not Always Good
All these holidays are filled with tradition, honor, and respect. It is a time to mourn and remember, a time to reminisce, a time to celebrate what all our veterans signed up to do, and again what they gave for our country some with their lives. One tradition is change that you may find on a veteran’s grave.
Here is the breakdown:
- A penny: This means someone has visited the grave.
- A nickel: This signifies that the visitor served with the deceased service member at boot camp.
- A dime: A dime means the visitor and deceased service member served together at some point.
- A quarter: Be prepared to have some tissue on hand when you see this denomination on a headstone. This coin is left by someone who was physically with the service member when he or she died.
Sadly, we are removing and changing the history we teach. It seems to me that we are stepping away from traditions with our families, or children are not being shown or learning how important these few days are.
We Need More Learning From our Mistakes
It is not only time to remember those fallen heroes, but it’s a time to learn why we never want to repeat those mistakes that were made that took all those great men from us too soon, I.T.’S CALLED LEARNING FROM OUR MISTAKES!
We used to have parades and community gatherings at the cemeteries to place flags and say prayers and listen to the old veterans reminisce about those days keeping us on the edge of our chairs with stories of war and hearing the tears in their voices when they say “I really miss old Tommy, he was a good man.”
Conclusion to The Ultimate Sacrifice Remembered On Memorial Day 2023
This Memorial Day, have our fun, have your BBQs, have our relaxation, but remember to take a few minutes out of that day to remember the fallen. This year sit with your family and remember a family member that was a veteran, go to a cemetery, and help put some flags on graves.
It’s fantastic how soon we have all seemed to have forgotten what these heroes did for us. That’s right, US! And we just seem to see it as another day to get out of work, maybe drink a little too much, or party and BBQ and waste a day.
Have we lost our respect, our honor, our respect, and thanks for those that have given so much so we can have our lives that we have? I hope not.
Have a great Memorial Day.
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One response to “Memorial Day 2023 – The Ultimate Sacrifice Remembered”
Beautiful article James. May all Americans remember Memorial Day with more reverence and honor those who gave their lives for this country.